Seven Magic Mountains

Los Angeles To Las Vegas: Best Stops For Your Road Trip

While there are a few different routes you can take to drive between Los Angeles and Las Vegas that would allow you to visit places such as Joshua Tree or Death Valley National Park, this road trip is the most direct and quickest route with only a few minor detours.

This does not mean a lack of awesome attractions because as you will see from the driving itinerary below, there are loads of fun and interesting places to see and stop on your way to Las Vegas that will take up an entire day of driving.

The driving distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is 290 miles and takes approximately four and a half hours (calculated from LAX airport) without any stops. We have provided enough information about each attraction for you to decide whether it’s worth your time to stop and explore or not, however it is in our opinion that you should try to make time for all of these fun stops.

The old saying, ‘It’s not about the destination, its the journey to get there’ really applies to this road trip because you can start your memorable experience even before hitting Las Vegas. So fill your tank up, and get ready to visit some really cool places!

Car Rentals

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Distance: 297 miles

Time: 5 hours without stops

Stops

  • Victorville
  • Oro Grand
  • Yermo
  • Baker
  • Goodsprings
  • Las Vegas

Best Stops Between L.A. & Las Vegas

Stop 1: California Route 66 Museum

Los Angeles To Victorville – 100 miles

Welcome to Victorville. A surprisingly large city in the Mojave Desert that historic U.S. Route 66 runs through. This desert community was first settled in 1885 but wasn’t incorporated until 1962. The city’s population grew from 8,000 at that time to 121,000 by 2013.

From Intertstate 15, take the D Street exit and head straight to Old Town. Seventh and D Street were once part of Route 66 through Victorville

Along D Street is Califoria Route 66 Museum. Inside the museum you will find all sorts of Route 66 exhibits and memoribilia documenting what life was like along the Mother Road. From vintage signs to neon lights, and even a 1917 Ford Model T Car, you’re guaranteed to walk away inspired by your visit!

The volunteer staff here are super friendly and have a wealth of knowledge on Route 66 and Victorville so feel free to pick their brains.

Admission to the museum is free but donations are greatly appreciated! Since the museum is run entirely on donations your support will help to keep this place going. The museum is open from Thursday to Monday.

Stop 2: Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch

Victorville To Oro Grand – 12 miles

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is an unusual roadside attraction on Route 66 in Oro Grande. This peculiar place encompasses hundreds of trees made from steel and glass bottles. It’s a surprisingly beautiful place that stands in stark contrast to the featureless desert landscape.

The colorful steel and glass forest was created by Elmer Long who was an avid collector of bottles. He and his father amassed a large collection of glass bottles over many years. After his father passed away, Elmer decided he wanted to do something with their collection.

He bought the ranch in Oro Grande and began building his art installation. Never in a million years did he think it would one day attract visitors from around the world. Which it surely does now!

The unique destination is one of the coolest and most fun places to visit on this road trip so be sure not to miss it!

You’ll need to get off Interstate-15 and take an easy detour along a stretch of original U.S. Route 66. From Victorville it’s only a fifteen minute drive away. Spend 30 minutes or so at the Route 66 Museum and then head to Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch. Allocate an hour to your visit! There really is so much to see here!!

Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated.

Read: Visit Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch: A Glass Forest On Route 66 In The California Desert

Stop 3: Peggy Sue’s Diner

Oro Grand, Yermo

Los Angeles To Las Vegas Road Trip

It’s hard to miss the jukebox shaped entrance of Peggy Sue’s diner as you drive along the I-15 through Yermo. This old-school diner was originally built in 1954 and sits in the shadows of the Calico Mountains.

The building is divided into two sections as you walk in through the entrance with the restaurant on the right-hand side and a 50’s themed gift shop and candy store to the left. You can enjoy typical diner style food on the menu including burgers, fries, milkshakes, and apple pies. There is even an area out back with ten-foot tall dinosaur statues that the kids will surely enjoy.

You’ll need to keep an eye out for the exit to Peggy Sue’s if you would like to visit but it’s easy to find as there are big road signs along the way to let you know when to get off the freeway.

Stop 4: Calico Ghost Town

Yermo

Calico Ghost Town in California

Calico is a former mining town that was founded in 1881 during the last silver strike in California. When silver lost it’s value in the mid-1890’s, Calico lost all of it’s residents and turned into a ghost town.

It was not until the 1950’s when Walter Knott purchased the abandoned town and architecturally restored most of the original buildings to look as they did in it’s hey day. Now known as Calico Ghost Town, the attraction is a State Historical Landmark and a popular tourist destination.

Visitor’s can learn all about the town’s history and what it is like to mine for silver and pan for gold through a self-guided tour of the Maggie Mine and other attractions the park offers. The Calico Ghost Town has shops, restaurants, and even a campground if you’re looking to extend your stay.

Read: Calico Ghost Town Campground: Camp At An Abandoned Mining Town That Dates Back To 1881

Stop 5: World’s Tallest Thermometer

Yermo To Baker – 55 miles

World's Largest Thermometer in Baker, California.

The World’s Tallest Thermometer is a landmark in Baker, California. Towering 134-feet above the Mojave Desert, this marvelous monument can be seen from miles and miles away by motorists driving between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

It is situated adjacent to Intersate-15 and while you can see it from the freeway, it looks way more impressive when you’re standing beside it. So be sure not to miss the Baker exit!

This is truly one of the quirkiest roadside attractions in America, and on top of that, it has quite an interesting backstory. The marvelous monument was built by Willis Herron, a man that grew up in the same town and at the same time as Colonel Sanders. Yes, I’m talking about the same Colonel Sanders who invented Kentucky Fried Chicken!

World's Tallest Thermometer in Baker, California.

Willis Herron moved to Baker and opened up a restaurant named Bun Boy, but when his restaurant burnt down in 1990, he wanted something that would draw even more attention than KFC’s revolving bucket — the World’s Tallest Thermometer!

Herron wasn’t cuckoo though; there was method in his madness. You see, the highest official temperature ever recorded was 134 degrees, which happened in Death Valley. And since Baker was the “Gateway To Death Valley”, it was only natural that the thermometer should stand 134-feet tall so it could record that high temperature should it ever occur again.

So in 1991, the colossal thermometer was built! Don’t miss the opportunity to have your photo taken with the impressive structure on your way to Vegas. Afterwards you can have a quick peek inside the gas station which doubles as a gift store.

Read: World’s Tallest Thermometer: The Story Behind Interstate-15’s Iconic Roadside Attraction

Stop 6: Pioneer Saloon

Baker To Goodsprings – 70 miles

Pioneer Saloon is a just detour off Interstate-15  and an easy detour on a road trip to Las Vegas.

Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, Nevada, was built in 1913 and is the oldest bar in southern Nevada. This wild west saloon is about as authentic as it gets!

The interior and exterior walls are made of original stamped tin, and thought to be one of the last of its kind in the United States. Inside the saloon is a solid cherrywood bar that was manufactured in the 1860s, as well as dining tables that have been around since the saloon’s opening day.

There is also a mini-museum full of antiques and newspaper clippings about the tragic connection the saloon has to famous Hollywood film stars Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

As you’ve just read, this place has a fascinating history that in my opinion, is worth the short detour off Interstate-15. In addition, you can tick visiting another ghost town in Nevada off your bucket list! Yes, Goodsprings is considered to be a ghost town even though the former mining town is still home to 200 residents.

The saloon does have a restaurant and it’s open seven days a week from 9am to 9pm. Breakfast is served until noon so if you’re starting your road trip in Las Vegas, you can swing by to fuel up for the drive to Los Angeles! See their menu here.

Even if you don’t drink, and have eaten elsewhere already on your road trip, the Pioneer Saloon is still worth the trip out to see the historic building and to wander around the ghost town.

No purchase is necessary to visit the saloon, and families are welcome! Just keep in mind that anyone under the age of 21 will not be allowed in the saloon itself, only in the dining area.

How to get to Pioneer Saloon: Pioneer Saloon is 25 miles from the south end of Las Vegas. From Interstate-15, take the exit at Jean for Goodsprings Road and drive for about five minutes. The Pioneer Saloon and Goodsprings General Store will be on your right side when you arrive in Goodsprings.

Stop 7: Seven Magic Mountains

Goodsprings To South Las Vegas – 12 miles

Los Angeles To Las Vegas Road Trip

The Seven Magic Mountains, sometimes known as the Neon Rocks, is probably the most popular roadside stop for motorists between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The brightly colored art installation is located only twenty minutes south of Las Vegas and is a must stop if you enjoy taking pictures of unusual attractions or if you are wanting some interesting material for your social media.

Read: Seven Magic Mountains: What Do They Mean?

Stop 8: Las Vegas

Best Stops Between Los Angeles and Las Vegas

The final stop on your road trip is Las Vegas. However, your adventure is only just beginning because Las Vegas has TONS of things to do, even for the non-gambler!

Whether this is your first time to Vegas or fifth, there is never a shortage of things to do here. New attractions, venue’s, restaurants, and shows are constantly popping up or being added in Sin City.

Not only that, but there is a plethora of natural attractions, national parks, and other amazing places you can easily visit as a day trip from Las Vegas.

Tips for this Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip

  • Bring plenty of snacks because gas stations are few and far between.
  • It can get extremely hot in summer so bring plenty of water with you.
  • Expect heavy traffic leaving Los Angeles if you depart Friday afternoon.
  • Expect heavy traffic leaving Las Vegas if you depart Sunday evening.

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